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76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, frabjous day!
At last!!! I've been reduced to re-reading my complete collection of Loretta Chase's witty, passionate and beautifully written books for years ... there's literally no one quite like her!

She has Mary Jo Putney's passion and willingness to look unflinchingly at tough emotional issues; she has the vivid and endearing characters of Georgette Heyer; the sheer...
Published on March 10, 2004 by Faith Freewoman

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31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not her best...
First of all, let me say that I am a BIG fan of Loretta Chase. She creates wonderfully original characters and her writing style is clean, witty and very readable. Be prepared to fall in love with her heroes! In my opinion, no one compares with Lord Dain (Lord of Scoundrels) as a sexy, lovable, all-around terrific hero. *yum!*
I had been looking forward to Miss...
Published on March 8, 2004


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76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, frabjous day!, March 10, 2004
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
At last!!! I've been reduced to re-reading my complete collection of Loretta Chase's witty, passionate and beautifully written books for years ... there's literally no one quite like her!

She has Mary Jo Putney's passion and willingness to look unflinchingly at tough emotional issues; she has the vivid and endearing characters of Georgette Heyer; the sheer sexiness and emotional impact of Mary Balogh and Gaelen Foley ... but no one, NO ONE can match her sly, sharp and absolutely irresistible sense of humor.

If you're in the market for an intelligent, sexy and emotionally fulfilling historical, I have GREAT news for you! All of her books are being re-issued, including my absolute favorite, Sandalwood Princess, over the next year. If you've just discovered Loretta Chase, prepare yourself for an absolute feast of insights, giggles, snickers, sighs and smiles.

That said, this book is quite different from the last several which she wrote, including Lord of Scoundrels, which has made the top 5 of every "Greatest Romance Ever Written" list I've seen ... the characters themselves remind me more of her earlier work, but with the more complex plot and depth of the more recent work.

In this story, our hero Alistair is the second son of an Earl, a celebrated hero of Waterloo, a dandy, and a man who loves women hugely and impulsively. Mirabel is far too busy managing a vast country estate for her fuzzy-headed father to care much about her appearance, but she certainly *does* care about the fact that the fabulously handsome, beautifully turned out Alistair is threatening everything she's worked for all her life ... and she's not going to let him get away with it!

Sound like a familiar plot? Well, maybe, but I won't tell you more, except to say that what you see is not what you get! Naturally you'll fall in love with them both, and with all the secondary characters (well, not ALL of them ... some are absolute villains!), while learning from them about solving the challenges of the heart, mind and community.

Oh, YOU know what I'm trying to say. Run, do not walk, to your Amazon.com cart and BUY THIS BOOK!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an engaging and entertaining read, March 10, 2004
By 
tregatt (Portland, Oregon) - See all my reviews
For as long as he can remember, Alistair Carsington, has caused his father, the Earl of Hargate, a great deal of trouble and money. At first, it was his tendency to fall in love at the drop of a hat; but now, since his return from the Peninsula Wars, it is the tremendous amount of money that he has spent on clothes. This time, however, the earl has had enough, and has issued an ultimatum: marry an heiress in six months or else the earl will settle the money he would have left Alistair's younger brothers on Alistair himself. Fortunately for Alistair, his best friend, Gordmor has a scheme. Gormor would like to build a canal that would allow him to move the coal from his coal mines more easily. And he invites Alistair to be a partner in this venture. Alistair's part will be to persuade a few land owners as to the desirability of the scheme. And so, even though it is the middle of winter, Alistair makes for the wilds of Derbyshire, only to find that the biggest stumbling block to his plans and riches lies in the shape of a maddeningly attractive but unfashionably dressed gentlewoman, Mirabel Oldridge, who has been running her father's estate for more than a decade now. This time, Alistair is determined to keep his mind on the prize and not fall in love. But the distracting Mirabel has sneakily stolen his heart. Will Alistair be able to keep his head planted firmly on his shoulders, or will love make his forget his resolve?
After what seems like a very long absence, Loretta Chase is back again, and all I can say is that the wait has been well worth it. "Miss Wonderful" is one of the wittiest and more charming novels I've read in a long while. The storyline is a basic one (hero meets heroine, both are powerfully attracted to each other, but there is a stumbling block to their developing relationship -- they both want different things), so that what really sets "Miss Wonderful" head and shoulders above other Regency-era romance novels of similar stripe, are 1) the prose style (witty and humourous); and 2) her engaging character portrayals of Alistair and Mirabel. Both characters are likable and sympathetic. While Mirabel was a strong, intelligent and resolute heroine, she definitely was not one of those feisty, totty-headed and bad tempered heroines who wouldn't be able to think her way out of a paper-bag but who seem (for some reason or the other) to people this genre an awful lot! While Alistair was a gem of a hero: honest and passionate and immensely nice. Both characters want an end result that seems to be in direct opposition of each other, and the authour's even handed stand on the issue of the canal, so that you got to see both sides of this arguement, made the novel all the more compelling and interesting. All in all, "Miss Wonderful" proved to be an engaging, entertaining and passionate romance novel, and if you're looking for a well written and wonderfully romantic novel to unwind with, I'd urge checking "Miss Wonderful" out.
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31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not her best..., March 8, 2004
By A Customer
First of all, let me say that I am a BIG fan of Loretta Chase. She creates wonderfully original characters and her writing style is clean, witty and very readable. Be prepared to fall in love with her heroes! In my opinion, no one compares with Lord Dain (Lord of Scoundrels) as a sexy, lovable, all-around terrific hero. *yum!*
I had been looking forward to Miss Wonderful for months, ever since I heard she was publishing a new book. Unfortunately, I can't say that I enjoyed it very much. In fact, I found myself actually skipping ahead of the story, which is the only time I've been able to say that about one of Ms. Chase's stories. IMHO, her characters never came alive and their motivations were frequently confusing or simply silly. Why does Mirabel object so strenuously to the canal? For environmental or life style reasons? After reading the book the best answer I can give is that she hates all change. Nothing should change in her little part of England. EVER. Alistair's past, which directly leads to his involvement in Mirabel's life, doesn't make him sound like a rake or a ladies-man, it just makes him sound easily distracted and silly. And the "explanation" given at the end of the book for their meeting is just too far fetched to be enjoyable.
That said, Ms. Chase continues to write clean, readable stories and there is no doubt I will be eagerly awaiting her next book. Unfortunately, Miss Wonderful just isn't up to her usual standards.
If you want to read a wonderful romance, go find Lord of Scoundrels, The Last Hellion or The Mad Earl's Bride (short story from Three Weddings & a Kiss - the story alone is worth the price of the book).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Wonderful, March 28, 2004
By 
I've waited a long while for another novel from Loretta Chase. This ones is enjoyable, but not quite as good as her last two novels - The Hellion and Lord of Scoundrels.
The characters in Miss Wonderful are fun, though. The dialogue is whitty and quick and you do feel attached to them, but for some reason the spark is not as bright as her previous books.
It is definitely worth taking a look at, so please give it a try. If you do, read her other novels.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Romance in the unlikeliest of places, January 19, 2009
By 
Gialdini (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
I really enjoyed Miss Wonderful. The characters are engaging and original. The dialogue sparkles. The prose is fluid and pure fun to read - with a bit of an Austen feel to it for me. Alistair Carsington, the younger son of an earl, is not your typical regency rake. He manages to pull off the incongruous mix of being both a dandy and scarred war hero. He's very uncomfortable with his fame as a hero and the wounds he earned at Waterloo. The former he thinks is undeserved and the latter is a noticeable limp of which he is ashamed. The thing I liked best about Alistair was how self-effacing he was. He doesn't use his war wounds as an opportunity to brood and rage all over the place. He's charming, chivalrous, and flawed. Even better, he isn't famous for millions of affairs as part of a marriage hating complex. (Love doesn't exist, my parents didn't marry for love, all women are conniving mercenaries, bla bla bla.) He's more of a head ache for his parents, who have had to bail him out of numerous disasters, financial and amorous. I loved the list of Episodes of Stupidity with which his father confronts him, prior to delivering the ultimatum that Alistair must find a way to cease draining his parents financially or his younger brothers will suffer for it. Alistair's solution is to join his best friend Lord Gordmor in a business venture, the building of a canal in Derbyshire. To this end, Alistair travels to Derbyshire to plead their case with the largest landowner in the area, Mr. Oldridge. Unfortunately, since the death of his wife, Mr. Oldridge has cared for nothing but botanical pursuits, so Alistair has to deal with his daughter, Mirabel, who has run the estate for the past ten years or so. And she is vehemently opposed to Alistair and Gordmor's project.

From the start it's clear that Mirabel is an intelligent, capable woman. All the work she does, all the responsibilities she shoulders are very evident in the book, so she's not one of those "bluestocking" heroines who make vague references to doing math-type things, but never really do anything. She's genuine and practical, has given up a lot to run the estate, but she doesn't whine about it. She made her choice years ago to commit herself to this certain path, and though she's not above missing the fun of her youth, she doesn't turn her actions into a huge, dramatic sacrifice. Despite (or perhaps because of) being antagonists with regards to the canal, she and Alistair have great chemistry as they disagree, resist each other, and eventually work towards a solution to the obstacles that stand between them. Alistair's reactions to Mirabel's sartorial offenses are particularly funny and endearing.

Other reviews of Miss Wonderful are kind of mixed and I can understand how the sedate pacing of the book and its premise might be considered drawbacks. The circumstances under which the hero and heroine meet don't particularly scream "romantic." Alistair is in Derbyshire for business, and that business is a big part of the book. It's the plot, what brings the characters together, what everyone talks about a lot of the time. The building of the canal is tied up with the industrial revolution transforming the landscape of rural England at the time, so Miss Wonderful is not your typical balls and tea parties romance. Some might find it tedious, but I thought the author integrated these issues very well with the development of Alistair and Mirabel's relationship. Alistair is invested in the canal venture because it's his first chance to stand on his own and make something of himself, let alone save his brothers from ruin. Mirabel is emotionally tied to the land and has made great sacrifices for it. Loretta Chase writes so well that I was never bored with the canal business.

My only objection was the book's descent into stereotype with the awkward introduction of a devious villain near the end, a kidnapping, the doddering old father, and the heroine's initial determination to have one night of passion with the hero (because they can never be together) which she will hoard away for the rest of her dreary life. Even though it isn't the best of books, Miss Wonderful was still a fun, sexy read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first loretta chase. There are more??? Yippee!!, April 13, 2004
By 
M.K. "I love books" (West Hartford, CT, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I work at home and am usually disciplined worker, but it's hopeless. Two workdays are shot because I had to read this book. Her characters are too interesting and original (and incredibly appealing), her style is fresh and skilled and packed a lovely silky punch of the best kind of Regency -- great dialogue, fun secondary characters. The book is hotter than a traditional regency but not just gratuitiously. The hero and heroine remain true to their natures even in bed. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book this much -- I didn't put the thing down unless I was forced to. I love the honesty and wit of the hero and heroine's interactions. They were the best of enemies.
Oooo I can't wait to buy the backlist!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chase at her worst has few equals., October 17, 2005
Her wit is witty; her plots are plotted and logical; her characterizations are subtle and complex; her writing style is clear and fresh and simply wonderful. Compared to what passes as romance books lately, this one gets five stars because I can't give it 9 or 10. Chase could probably make the Yellow Pages readable. An exceptionally talented writer, and I'm so thankful she chose to exhibit that talent in my favorite genre.

More! More! More!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars sadly 'put-downable', January 19, 2008
I'm not sure why this is but I found it a little hard to finish this book. The hero was funny and poignant. The heroine was also amusing, smart and had her heart-wrenching moments. I always love when the obstacle to the union is not something stupid like the woman's demand for her 'freedom'. It's nice when there's a solid obstacle for them to overcome.

But somehow the chemistry was off. I think Mirabel was the problem as others have said. She is at times irrational and I don't think it was necessary. She could continue to oppose the idea without seeming like a brick wall.

I found their interactions at the beginning insufficent to fuel their attraction. There were glimpses, but I liked Lord of Scoundrels and Not Quite a Lady more. They both had obstacles to ultimate happiness but the chemistry between the main characters was evident and nourished.

I'd still recommend this one as part of the series on the Carsingtons but I can't give it the higher ranking I'd like to give all Chase's novels.

That being said, after reading three of her stories, I have to say that Loretta Chase nonetheless is a gem and I am still on my quest to read all her books.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A winner-must read, March 2, 2004
In 1817 Earl Edward Carsington is tired of paying the bills for his third of five sons and the oldest unmarried one. He demands that Alistair in his late twenties either finds a wealthy wife or earns income through business. Rather than wed, the melancholy war "hero" joins his friend Lord Gordmor in building a canal in Derbyshire.
Some of the local landowners oppose the project so Alistair heads north to persuade them to support the canal endeavor. The opposition leader is spinster Mirabel Oldridge who is a couple of years older than Alistair. As she deftly sabotages his support through her silver tongue, they fall in love. However, he believes the canal is a boom while she believes it is a bust leaving a gap wider than his proposal to keep them apart.
Fans will enjoy this wonderful Regency romance that takes the contemporary issue of environment vs. development back to its roots in early nineteenth century England. The story line is crisp as Mirabel and Alistair debate the merits and demerits of the impact of a canal on the locality even as both fall in love. The secondary cast adds depth to the debate so that the audience receives a terrific historical tale with modern day implications.
Harriet Klausner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining., December 30, 2005
By 
statengirl (Massachusetts, USA) - See all my reviews
This book is not as good as Lord of Scoundrels or Mr. Impossible, but it is still a good read. Both leads are very likeable. Alastair Carsington is sympathetic as a troubled Waterloo veteran. He is trying to regain his confidence by helping a friend to pursuade a small town to let a canal run through it. It will connect to the friend's mine in which Alastair has invested all of his remaining funds. Mirabel Oldridge is the daughter of the largest and most influential property owner in the area and she has a troubled past of her own. She is vehemently against the building of the canal and the unwanted changes it would bring. Mirabel is refreshingly direct and Alastair is amazingly sweet as they fall in love despite their opposing positions on the canal project. The book is a little slow in the middle, and there is too much discussion of the project. However, the ending is quite good and so is the humor.
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